On Saturday,nine-month pregnant Shilpa Sonawane,a resident of Bhatnagar in Pimpri-Chinchwad,developed abdominal pain. Through the day,she endured it as she did not have even Rs 50 to reach YCM Hospital in Sant Tukaramnagar by autorickshaw. In the evening,Shilpa’s sister,who works in a shop,returned home and gave her Rs 50. On Sunday morning when Shilpa again complained of pain,she was taken to YCMH. She gave birth to a stillborn baby around 10.30 am.
Doctors told me I delayed treatment at the hospital. But I could not help it. There is a lot of tension in my family. My husband does not provide money,my mother’s family has no money. Not even Rs 50…, sobs 22-year-old Shilpa,whose husband is a driver. YCMH doctors said intra-uterine deaths are caused by factors like complications,high blood pressure,hypertension,accidents and injuries caused by beating.
Shilpa survived,but 150 other pregnant women have died either during delivery or after at the government-run Sassoon Hospital and the civic-run YCMH in the last three years,reveals an RTI reply to queries from The Indian Express. Of the 150 pregnant women who died (maternal mortality ) Sassoon accounted for 102 while YCMH saw 48. In both the hospitals,the deaths saw an increase in three years. In 2010,Sassoon recorded deaths of 44 pregnant women,against 32 in 2009 and 26 in 2008. YCMH recorded 20 deaths in 2010 and around 30 in the previous two years. Sassoon also recorded death of 50 children at the time of delivery while 46 children survived.
Of the 44 deaths at Sassoon in 2010,only 14 pregnant women are city-based while others were either from rural areas of Pune or outside the state. At YCMH,of the 20 deaths recorded,12 women were from outside PCMC jurisdiction. In its RTI reply,Sassoon hospital said the deaths could not be prevented due to late arrival and the conditions of the patient being too critical or being at an advanced stage of diseases on admission.
When contacted,Sasson dean Dr Renu Bharadwaj said,Right through the nine-month pregnancy,women should be under medical supervision. Awareness has increased,but not much. At Sassoon,we provide ante-natal care. Families have an important role in initiating timely check ups and treatment. She denied any overcrowding in the maternity ward.
Dr Kamal Yadav,in-charge of PCMC National Programmes of Health,said the major reason for death of pregnant women was delay in treatment. A large number of maternal mortalities could be avoided only if women get timely treatment, she said. Dr Yadav said the Central Government has from this year made it mandatory for civic bodies to keep tab of three kinds of delay that lead to maternal mortality. Delay in seeking care,delay in reaching medical facility and delay in initiating treatment. Pregnant women,said Dr Yadav,many a time ignore danger signals. Besides,rural women face the challenge of reaching medical facility on time.
Social activist Anita Landge,associated with an NGO,said they found during a survey that women generally ignore health. Two months back,we found 90 per cent of women in Bhopkel area anaemic during our survey. A woman last year lost her baby as she refused to go to hospital unless her husband accompanied her, she said.